Instaread Summaries

Summary of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Summary of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings | Includes Analysis


Chapter 1

Marguerite was three and her brother, Bailey, four when they arrived in

Stamps, Arkansas. They were to live with their grandmother, Momma

Henderson, because their parents in California were divorcing. Momma

owned a general store in the heart of the black area and sold lunches to

workers all over town. During cotton season, the pickers left their lunch

sacks at the store to be filled. Marguerite saw how the grueling, low-paid

drudgery wore them down. Years later she would lash out against the

stereotype of happy cotton pickers singing in the fields.

Chapter 2

Momma’s son, Uncle Willie, made sure the children learned their

lessons. Uncle Willie was dropped by a baby-sitter as an infant. This

accident left his body twisted and one hand deformed. People tried not

to look at him. He wore starched shirts and shined shoes. He tried to

stand proud, but was the local scapegoat and butt of jokes. In a world

where a strong black man could barely get by, Uncle Willie was

resented because his family owned a store filled with shelves of food

and other goods. One afternoon, he broke down when strangers asked

to take his photo. Marguerite felt his pain at being stereotyped as a


Though she read and enjoyed the works of many classical white and

black writers, Marguerite fell in love with Shakespeare because the first

line in Sonnet 29, “When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes. (Ch2,

EPUB)”, expressed exactly how she felt, and how she knew Uncle Willie


PLEASE NOTE: This is a summary and analysis of the book and NOT the original book.

Inside this Instaread Summary of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings:

• Summary of book

• Introduction to the Important People in the book

• Analysis of the Themes and Author’s Style

About the Author

With Instaread, you can get the summary and analysis of a book in 15 minutes. We read every

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